Don’t lose your cool as the temperature heats up. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, residential electricity sales are expected to increase by 3% this summer because more people are working from home and social distancing.

Consider the following tips to save energy and keep energy costs down:

  • Seal any cracks and openings. Warm air may leak into your home around windows, door frames, crawl spaces—and even recessed lights.
  • Install energy-efficient window coverings. Hanging heavy drapes in front of windows will help keep the house cool. Consider blinds or curtains that let natural light in, but prevent solar heat gain.
  • Use a programmable thermostat. A smart thermostat could help save up to 10% on heating and cooling costs a year. This energy-efficient tool adjusts your home’s temperatures accordingly.
  • Turn off the air conditioner when you don’t need it. Ceiling fans and window fans don’t use as much electricity as an air conditioning unit does.
  • Run the washer, dryer and dishwasher before 11 a.m. or after 7 p.m. to avoid peak usage times and possibly higher rates—especially on hot days.
  • Keep oven use to a minimum. On hot days, consider using an outdoor grill instead of the oven or stove. Other indoor low-energy appliance options include the slow cooker and microwave.

Keep in mind that annual air conditioner maintenance can also help improve your comfort and the appliance’s efficiency.